Shaolin Spade

Shaolin Spade

Shaolin Spade – This Chinese Weapon is Also Known as Yue Ya Chan and Chan Zhang

Welcome to our guide on the Shaolin Spade, a traditional Chinese weapon that has been used in martial arts for centuries. The Shaolin Spade is also known as Shaolin Monk Spade, Monk Spade, Yue Ya Chan and Chan Zhang and it is a unique weapon that requires skill and precision to use effectively.

In this article, we will provide you with all the necessary information on the Shaolin Spade, including its history, characteristics, techniques, and how to use it in combat. We will also provide you with some insights into how the Shaolin Spade can be used in modern times and its relevance in today’s world.

History of the Shaolin Spade

The Shaolin Spade has a long and rich history, dating back to the Song Dynasty in China, over 1,000 years ago. It is said that the Shaolin Spade was developed by the monks of the Shaolin Temple, who used it both as a tool and as a weapon for self-defense.

The Shalin Spade features a long pole with a flat, spade-like blade on one end and a smaller crescent-shaped blade on the opposite end. Neither of these blades were intended to be sharpened adhering to Buddhist principles of no killing.

In ancient China, it was common for Buddhist monks to carry spades or shovels during their travels. This served a dual purpose: if they encountered a deceased person on their journey, they could perform Buddhist rites and properly bury the body, and the sizable tool could act as a defensive weapon against robbers.

The crescent blade was specifically designed to defend against small to medium-sized predators like wild dogs and leopards. It would be used to keep the animal at a safe distance by aiming the crescent at the animal’s neck and pushing it away if necessary. Over time, these tools evolved into the monk’s spade weapon.

The Shaolin Spade evolved to be a versatile weapon, with its pointed blade on one end and a wide spade on the other. It was also known for its long shaft, which allowed its wielder to keep a safe distance from their opponent while still being able to strike with deadly force.

Over the years, the Shaolin Spade evolved and became a popular weapon among martial artists in China. It was used in various styles, including Shaolin Kung Fu, Southern Fist, and Northern Fist. Today, the Shaolin Spade is still used in many traditional martial arts schools and has also gained popularity in modern Wushu competitions.

Characteristics of the Shaolin Spade

The Shaolin Spade is a unique weapon that has several distinctive characteristics. It typically consists of a long wooden shaft, ranging from six to eight feet in length, with a pointed blade on one end and a wide spade on the other. The blade and spade are usually made of iron or steel and they can be sharpened to a razor edge.

The blade of the Shaolin Spade is usually about 12 to 16 inches long and has a curved or straight shape. It is used for thrusting, slicing, and cutting techniques, and it can be used to strike vital points on an opponent’s body.

The spade of the Shaolin Spade is usually about six inches wide and has a flat or concave shape. It is used for blocking, parrying, and trapping techniques, and it can also be used to strike with the flat surface.

The Shaolin Spade requires skill and precision to use effectively, and it is often used in combination with other weapons or as a secondary weapon. Its long shaft allows for a wide range of techniques, including sweeping, hooking, and thrusting.

Shaolin Spade Construction

The Shaolin Spade, also known as Yue Ya Chan or Chan Zhang, is a traditional Chinese weapon that has been used for centuries. It is a unique combination of a spear and a shovel, and it is one of the most iconic weapons in Chinese martial arts. The Shaolin Spade is made of high-quality materials and is constructed in a way that ensures durability and effectiveness in combat.

The construction of the Shaolin Spade begins with the selection of the materials.


The shaft of the spade is usually made of hardwood, such as white wax wood or red sandalwood, which is known for its strength and flexibility. The blade of the spade is typically made of high-carbon steel, which is known for its durability and sharpness.


To create the blade, the steel is heated and then hammered into shape by a skilled blacksmith. The blade is then quenched in water or oil to harden it, and it is tempered to increase its toughness and resilience. The final step in the construction of the blade is to sharpen it to a fine edge, which requires great skill and precision.

The blade is attached to the shaft using a combination of glue and nails. The glue used is a special type of epoxy that is known for its strength and durability. The nails are made of high-quality steel and are carefully placed to ensure a secure attachment. Once the blade is attached, the entire spade is sanded and polished to create a smooth and even finish.

In addition to the blade and shaft, the Shaolin Spade also features a metal ring or guard near the top of the shaft. This guard is designed to protect the hands of the user and to prevent the shaft from breaking during combat. The guard is usually made of brass or steel and is carefully fitted to the shaft using screws or rivets.

Overall, the construction of the Shaolin Spade is a complex and time-consuming process that requires great skill and expertise. The result is a weapon that is both beautiful and effective in combat. The Shaolin Spade is a true masterpiece of Chinese martial arts, and its construction is a testament to the skill and dedication of Chinese craftsmen.

Techniques of the Shaolin Spade

The Shaolin Spade has a variety of techniques that can be used in combat, depending on the situation and the opponent. Some of the most common techniques include:

  • Thrusting: The Shaolin Spade is thrust forward, aiming for the opponent’s vital points.
  • Slicing: The Shaolin Spade is used to slice across the opponent’s body, causing deep cuts.
  • Blocking: The Shaolin Spade is used to block the opponent’s attacks, either with the blade or the spade.
  • Trapping: The Shaolin Spade is used to trap the opponent’s weapon, allowing for a counter-attack.
  • Hooking: The Shaolin Spade is used to hook the opponent’s weapon or body, allowing for a strike with the blade or spade.

Using the Shaolin Spade in Modern Times

The Shaolin Spade is an ancient Chinese weapon that has been used for centuries, but it still has relevance in modern times. While it may not be as commonly used as other weapons in martial arts or combat, the Shaolin Spade still has a place in today’s world. In this article, we’ll explore how the Shaolin Spade can be used in modern times.

First and foremost, the Shaolin Spade can still be used as a weapon in self-defense or combat situations. Its unique design allows for both thrusting and swinging attacks, making it a versatile weapon. The sharp blade can be used to strike an opponent, while the flat shovel end can be used for blocking or grappling. In the hands of a skilled user, the Shaolin Spade can be a formidable weapon.

In addition to its use as a weapon, the Shaolin Spade can also be used as a tool. Its shovel end makes it useful for digging, chopping, and even gardening. The spade can be used to dig holes or trenches, chop wood or other materials, and even plant or harvest crops. Its versatility as both a weapon and a tool makes the Shaolin Spade a valuable asset in a variety of situations.

Beyond its practical uses, the Shaolin Spade also has cultural significance. It is a symbol of Chinese martial arts and the Shaolin Temple, where it originated. Practicing with the Shaolin Spade can help individuals connect with Chinese culture and history, and it can also be a way to promote cultural understanding and appreciation.

Final Thoughts

While the Shaolin Spade may not be as well-known as other weapons, such as the sword or staff, it still has value in modern times. Its unique design, versatility, and cultural significance make it a weapon and tool that can be appreciated by martial artists, historians, and cultural enthusiasts alike.

In conclusion, the Shaolin Spade is a weapon and tool that has stood the test of time. Its construction and design have remained largely unchanged for centuries, and it still has relevance in modern times. Whether used as a weapon or a tool, or simply appreciated for its cultural significance, the Shaolin Spade is a valuable and iconic piece of Chinese martial arts history.

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Updated: February 9, 2024 — 12:33 pm